15 Great Veterinary Teaching Hospitals

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A veterinary teaching hospital educates future veterinarians and gives them hands-on opportunities to gain skills in an in-patient setting. Clinical experience is a core component of veterinary education, and veterinary teaching hospitals teach students, interns, and residents basic and specialized skills. In these learning environments, a vet clinic is a classroom. In addition, veterinary teaching hospitals usually offer various services for small and large animals, exotic animals, wildlife, and farm animals.

Most veterinary teaching hospitals provide routine checkup care. Therefore, students at veterinary teaching hospitals can generally expect to observe and participate in routine clinical examinations, diagnosis, treatment options, and follow-up care. By studying under the guidance of a board-certified veterinarian, veterinary techs and future veterinarians develop confidence in their skills. In addition, veterinary teaching hospitals provide vet services to communities while giving future veterinarians and vet techs rich learning opportunities with patient care.

In addition, many patients are referred by clinics to teaching hospitals for specialty care. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) offers 12 specialty credentials that can give vet techs certification in areas such as animal behavior, anesthesia, oncology, or dentistry. Most credentials require 1,000 to 10,000 hours of in-person experience as a prerequisite for exam eligibility which vet techs can earn through experience at a veterinary teaching hospital. Please see our guide for How to Become a Veterinary Technician Specialist for more information on certification requirements.

In short, learning at a veterinary teaching hospital is a great way to develop skills to work with several types of animals in clinical care or specialty areas. Read on for a detailed list of 15 great veterinary teaching hospitals.

City : Urbana
State : Illinois

In Urbana, IL, this teaching hospital is a full-scale hospital that offers services for animals, ranging from pets to exotics and farm animals to horses. Students work alongside professionals, many who are board-certified, and with certified vet techs. As a result, they have opportunities to gain skills in numerous specialty areas that range from anesthesiology and pain care to imaging, ophthalmology, surgery, reproduction, and much more.

There are more than a dozen specialties available through the teaching hospital. Senior veterinary students typically do the initial take-in of patients and then discuss the findings with a veterinarian to determine the best course of action and follow-up.

City : Fort Collins
State : Colorado

This teaching hospital in Fort Collins, CO, allows students to expand their working skills to help treat small and large animals. They also can learn about general equine and general livestock care through available hospital programs. The hospital offers equine field services, typically staffed by two veterinarians and an intern, and equine sports medicine.

In addition, third- and fourth-year students can participate in the hospital’s dairy ambulatory service program, which includes weekly visits to provide primary care to cows and calves, at dairy farms—and currently has four dairy farms in the rotation. Additional services and learning opportunities range from emergency care to cardiology, dentistry, oncology, neurology, and more, all available at the small animal hospital.

City : Blacksburg
State : Virginia

Located in Blacksburg, VA, on the Virginia Tech University campus, this school was founded in 1978 and is the in-state vet school for students living in Virginia or Maryland. The school offers small and large animal service hospitals and an Equine Service program featuring on-farm and in-hospital care. This operates within 35 miles of the Blacksburg area and provides primary, emergency, and preventative care to horses in a farm setting. In fact, more than 79,000 animals are treated yearly through the school’s hospitals and field-service program.

Many other services also available through the hospital range from equine acupuncture and ultrasound to inpatient and outpatient diagnostic imaging, giving vet students many ways to immerse themselves in animal care.

City : Athens
State : Georgia

“Supporting Georgia’s agriculture one herd at a time” is a key phrase for this teaching hospital, which provides the opportunity to be part of a production medicine team and monitor and help improve the health of dairy and beef cows in the area. But, that’s not all; students also can gain hands-on experiences through the more than 25,000 small and large animal visits that occur annually through the hospital and by working under the supervision of board-certified specialists.

The hospital moved to a new location in 2015 and now provides state-of-the-art equipment that includes a 64-Slice CT scanner and a 3T open bore MRI that could interest students wanting to know more about these technologies. In addition, there are more than 25 specialties provided through the hospital, which offers emergency services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

City : West Lafayette
State : Indiana

Students gaining experience in this teaching hospital in West Lafayette, IN, can work under the guidance of doctors trained in fields such as anesthesia, diagnostic imaging, internal medicine, oncology, and more. Treatment is provided through community practice, specifically available to those in the county and staff and students of the campus, and through the school’s small and large animal hospitals, in which providing compassionate care is a priority.

Fourth-year veterinary students in the hospital can take medical histories, perform physical exams on new patients, and collaborate with clinicians to create appropriate diagnostic plans. Emergency care is available 24/7, in addition to diagnostic referral treatment.

City : Pullman
State : Washington

At this teaching hospital in Pullman, WA, fourth-year veterinary students and interns, residents, and graduate students work with clinical professionals to provide animal patients the best care and treatment.

Students in this hospital, which opened in 1996, may learn about various technologies, including CT scans, endoscopy, MRI, radiation therapy, and more, and may be able to gain knowledge in specialty areas such as cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, pharmacy, and radiology. In fact, the hospital offers more than 15 specialty service areas that range from clinical pathology to oncology.

City : Baton Rouge
State : Louisiana

Students learning vet skills in this Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based hospital work under the direction of board-certified specialists skilled in anesthesiology, cardiology, internal medicine, oncology, total hip replacement, and more. Students may be able to participate in events ranging from Spay Day to animal emergency responder boot camps and ultrasound workshops, and can even take part in the school’s Shelter Medicine program that aims to help unwanted animals residing in shelters in south Louisiana.

Two related animal shelter classes have even been incorporated into the school’s veterinary program, and zoological services, farm animal services, and wildlife care is also available.

City : Knoxville
State : Tennessee

Knowledge, compassion, and discovery are key parts of the care provided at this animal medical center, located in Knoxville, TN. As a student, you may be able to gain learning at any of the four animal hospitals and discover ways to provide care to small animals, horses, or even farm animals. If that’s not enough, there is even an avian, exotics, and zoological hospital and the capacity to work under the direction of board-certified specialists.

In addition, fourth-year students often begin the intake process of small animals, finding out the history of a pet or animal and doing a physical examination and then following up with skilled veterinarians on routes for treatment.

City : Raleigh
State : North Carolina

Whether it’s to learn how to work with small animals, farm animals, horses or more, this veterinary hospital, located in Raleigh, NC, offers many different learning opportunities.

There are more than 17 board-certified specialists on staff, guiding animal care, and three animal medical facilities to learn, including a companion animal medical center, an equine and farm animal medical center, and a veterinary health and wellness center. There are 30 exam rooms and ten surgery suites in the companion animal center alone, affording plenty of opportunities for students to gain new insight and skills.

City : Columbus
State : Ohio

Students receiving a veterinary education at this Columbus, Ohio-based animal medical center learn about providing routine and specialized care to animals and become part of an overarching care system that treats more than 35,000 animals every year. State-of-the-art technology is important to learning as is the opportunity to gain specialized skills in areas like cardiology, gastroenterology, urology, reproduction, and more.

In addition to treating companion animals, students may have opportunities to work with various farm animals or even service animals, like police dogs and guide dogs.

City : North Grafton
State : Massachusetts

Tufts University animal hospital in North Grafton, MA, offers a focus that goes beyond just healing animals to helping embrace entire families. Opportunities for student learning include a small animal hospital, a large animal hospital, an ambulatory service, and a spay/neuter clinic. It also offers “Tufts at Tech,” which aims to provide low-cost primary and preventative care to companion animals in the region. Externships for vet techs and assistants are available each summer.

City : College Station
State : Texas

Providing both a small animal and large animal hospital, this veterinary teaching program in College Station, Texas, allows students to learn how to care for dogs, cats, birds, horses, cattle, goats, and more. The teaching hospital, established in 1915, has a caseload of treating more than 24,000 animals every year.

The only veterinary teaching hospital in the state, the school employs many board-certified faculty members in their field and can help pass their knowledge on to students. In addition, an animal life-care center offers opportunities to secure care for the rest of a pet’s life.

City : Ithaca
State : New York

Located in Ithaca, NY, this veterinary teaching hospital gives students the chance to work under the direction of board-certified veterinarians and to use cutting-edge approaches. Care options encompass a companion animal facility, an equine hospital, a farm animal hospital – all three as in-patient facilities – and a wildlife health center and ambulatory production medical services.

The wildlife center enables students to work with injured or rescued animals, including owls, while the ambulatory services allow them to gain skills in providing routine and emergency care to animals on farms within 25 to 30 miles of Ithaca.

City : Philadelphia
State : Pennsylvania

This veterinary hospital is considered one of the busiest in the country, handling more than 30,000 small animal visits annually, about a third of which are emergency cases. Located in Philadelphia, PA, this hospital also allows students to work with exotic animals, such as amphibians, birds, and reptiles.

The school also has a large animal hospital, located in Kennett Square, Pa., that oversees the care of about 4,000 animals yearly, with most of these involving treatment of horses. However, a field service program also allows students to learn at local farms – particularly since the school treats about 36,000 animal patients a year through outreach.

City : Davis
State : California

The University of California Davis’s School of Veterinary Medicine is ranked #1 in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report. It provides cutting-edge vet care at world-class facilities. This hospital is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and partners with two other satellite campuses in the UC system in San Diego and Tulare.

This veterinary hospital offers services for small and exotic animals, equine/livestock, laboratory, and appointments and referrals. In addition, an on-site vet pharmacy is available for unique medication compounds and a 24/7 emergency care clinic.

Methodology

Vet Tech Colleges selected the veterinary teaching hospitals on this list for offering one or more of the following services below:

  1. Small and large animals: All the teaching hospitals on this list offer care to small and large animals, even exotics or wildlife.
  2. Outreach services: Many veterinary teaching hospitals featured below provide field-based outreach services, requiring veterinary teams to travel to treat animals.
  3. 24-hour emergency care: Nearly all of the teaching hospitals on this list offer after-hours emergency services, providing students with trauma and emergency vet care experience and rural communities with animal healthcare.
  4. Specialty referral care: Many hospitals offer specialty care such as oncology, reproduction, and ophthalmology, allowing students to gain unique insights to shape their future veterinary careers.
Rachel Drummond (Writer)

Rachel is a freelance writer, educator, and yogini from Oregon. She’s taught English to international university students in the United States and Japan for more than a decade and has a master’s degree in education from the University of Oregon. A dedicated Ashtanga yoga practitioner, Rachel is interested in exploring the nuanced philosophical aspects of contemplative physical practices and how they apply in daily life. She writes about this topic among others on her blog (Instagram: @racheldrummondyoga).